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Local News April 15th, 2010

DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint for April 9, 2010

The Escondido Police Department conducted a DUI Sobriety / Drivers License Checkpoint at the intersection of El Norte Parkway and Washington Street from 6:00 PM until 12:00 AM. The emphasis of this checkpoint was to detect intoxicated and unlicensed drivers as well as to provide a highly visible operation to deter driving under the influence.

The following activity resulted from this checkpoint:

• 1,605 vehicles entered the checkpoint
• 1,191 vehicles were screened in primary
• 67 vehicles sent to secondary (drivers who could not produce a drivers license or who were suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
• 3 driver were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• 6 field sobriety tests were administered
• 34 vehicles were impounded at this checkpoint, seven drivers did not have auto insurance, nine drivers had a suspended drivers license and 24 drivers did not have a drivers license
• 37 citations were issued at this checkpoint.

Rally to Support DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints Today

At 4pm today, there is a rally in front of the Escondido City Hall, at Broadway and East Valley Parkway, for those who support Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher and his department’s enforcement of traffic laws via DUI and Driver’s License Checkpoints. The Escondido Police Department has come under fire recently by very small but highly vocal activist groups who oppose active enforcement of laws against illegal immigrants. One of the most vocal, and most high profile, of these activists is City Council member Olga Diaz, who openly courts the illegal immigrant activists.

Tea Parties Today, Thursday, April 15th

It appears the Tea Party Movement is for real.

A number of Tea Parties are scheduled for today, Thursday, April 15th, throughout North San Diego County.

In Escondido, at 5pm, an Escondido Tea Party will be in front oft the Escondido Post office on Escondido Boulevard

In Rancho Bernardo, the Tea Party will be at the Post Office, corner of Lomica/Acena from 5:OO pm to 7 pm.

Up to 10,000 attendees are anticpated in Oceanside, where organizers are not only staging a Tax Day Tea Party but are presenting a Candidate Forum, featuring Steve Poizner and Larry Narritelli, candidates for Governor, Chuck Devore, candidate for US Senate (opposing Barbara Boxer), Jay La Suer, candidate for San Diego Sheriff, and John Eastman, candidate for Attorney General. When asked why the other candidates for Sheriff, Jim Duffy and Bill Gore, were not featured, The Paper was told, Jay La Suer was the primary candidate of the Tea Party organizers and the other two candidates simply were not invited.

The event will be held at the Oceanside Pier, ( outdoor amphitheater ) today, April 15th, from 4:30 to 7pm. Rick Roberts of KFMB will emcee the event.

For more information go to: www.stoptaxingus.com.

Council Member Diaz Draws Fire for Letter to Attorney General

Local political observers in Escondido are upset with Councilmember Olga Diaz because of her letter to Attorney General Jerry Brown, seeking an opinion as to the legality of the Escondido Police Department’s operation of DUI/Driver’s License checkpoints.

Both City Attorney Jeff Epp, Mayor Pro Tem Dick Daniels and Sam Abed confirmed that Diaz did not write the letter with the approval of the full council, but did it on her own; however, she wrote it on letterhead of the City of Escondido.

Letters to the Editor of both The Paper and the North County Times are heavily in opposition to Diaz’s action. Checkpoint supporters far outnumber those opposed, based on the volume of letters.

A form outlining the conditions under which the Attorney General would issue an opinion suggests such an opinion would be reserved for ‘legislators.’ Most legal observers agree that refers to state legislators and not city councilmembers. Both Daniels and Abed generally agreed with that interpretation and felt Diaz’s letter would go nowhere and was merely a bit of political grandstanding. Neither of them anticipated, nor did they seek, an official motion of censure for Diaz.

Opponents say the checkpoints are a thinly veiled attempt to repel illegal immigrants, who can't get California driver's licenses. But supporters of the checkpoints say they have nothing to do with illegal immigration, but with getting inebriated and/or unlicensed drivers off the roads.

According to Escondido police, hit-and-run accidents have dropped 36 percent and fatalities are down 33 percent.

Funding for Community Agencies To Be Capped?

As part of the Escondido City Council’s never ending search for areas to cut the budget, the target of Escondido’s community agencies and special-event organizers are reading between the lines and acknowledging that they’ll probably have to come up with a lot more fundraisers to replace the funding previously enjoyed by the City Council’s largesse.

The budget subcommitte appointed by the City Council has already proposed a formula that would lower the amount of money the council would give to those agencies and events each year. The city is looking at the neighborhood of $166,300 as a cap. That figure is based on a percentage of the General Fund overall budget. This year, however, the city intends to charge the cost of city services against that grant; this would leave actual cash to divide up at $70,300.

That figure is based on 0.25% of the general fund budget. If the council decides to go to 0.5 percent, then the figure of $330,000 less the cost of city services, would leave $234,000.

The full council discussed the item last night but results were not available as of press time.

Oceanside Arts, Technology and Environment Overlay Zone Planning Commission and Public Workshops Announced

The Planning Commission of the City of Oceanside will conduct public workshop meetings on Monday, April 26, and May 24, 2010, at 5:00 pm to obtain public input and discuss issues related to: a) the establishment of an Arts, Technology & Environment (AT&E) overlay zone for pedestrian and transit oriented development (PTOD) within the Coast Highway Vision & Strategic Plan Area; and b) the inter-relationship between the AT&E District and the arts, technology and environment focus of the Sprinter Station Node area.

The April 26th workshop will be held in the City Council Chambers at 300 North Coast Highway. The May 24th workshop will be held at the Civic Center Library Community Rooms, also located at 300 North Coast Highway. If you have any questions regarding the AT&E overlay zone workshops, please contact Planning Division staff between 7:30 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday and on alternate Fridays between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm at (760) 435-3520. Written comments may be submitted to the Planning Division, 300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054. All comments received prior to the meetings will be made available for consideration during the workshops.

Extended I-15 Ramp Closures in Escondido Construction Advisory

During April and May, weather permitting, several consecutive extended ramp closures will impact traffic on and around Interstate 15 (I-15) in the Escondido area.

Areas affected are:

Stage 1: Extended closures on northbound I-15 at the 9th Avenue on-ramp (9 days) and the Valley Parkway off-ramp (3 days).
Stage 2: Extended closures on southbound I-15 at the Valley Parkway on-ramp (3 days) and the 9th Avenue off-ramp (16 days). Although the Valley Parkway on-ramp will re-open after 3 days, traffic from this ramp will not have access to the southbound lanes and will be detoured to the 9th Avenue off-ramp where motorists can access the southbound on-ramp for the following 13 days.
Stage 3: Extended closures at the eastbound State Route 78 (SR-78) connector to southbound I-15 (3 days) and at the southbound Valley Parkway off-ramp for I-15 motorists (16 days). The Valley Parkway off-ramp will only be accessible to traffic coming from SR-78 during this time.
Stage 4: Extended closure on northbound I-15 at the Valley Parkway on-ramp (3 days). Once the on-ramp re-opens, traffic will only be able to access SR-78 for 16 days.
These closures are needed to finish paving work on the outside portions of I-15. Once this work is completed, traffic will be shifted onto the newly paved lanes and construction will begin on the new Express Lanes in the median of I-15. Traffic flow should improve in both the northbound and southbound lanes after this work is complete. Once construction moves to the median there will also be no more planned extended ramp closures, although occasional closures may be necessary.

Motorists are advised to be on the alert for construction signs in the areas cited above.

Pedestrian Mall for Downtown Escondido?

With a struggling economy and a downtown area that some say is beginning to look like a ghost town, the city has responded with news of enough money to at least begin a $3 million pedestrian plaza on Maple Street adjacent to Valley Parkway.

Other cities have used such plazas as places of relaxation and entertainment, a place to people watch, have sandwiches and coffee, and enjoy various street performances.

In view of the increasing number of vacant store fronts and thre recent announcements that the Mingei Museum will close in June, this news was a little fleck of sunshine to downtown merchants and its merchant member organization the DBA (Downtown Business Association). Add to this the on again-off again plans to begin construction on a luxury seven-story Marriott hotel in the downtown area, and stalled construction plans for 1,000 condos and there was a rather bloomy atmosphere within the downtown sphere. This atmosphere was not helped by the knowledge that many of the Palomar Medical Center employees will be gone once the new hopsital in West Escondido is completed in 2012.

City officials found the money from a transportation fund of about $600,000, a SANDAG grant of $935,000 and then, $1.2 million came to the city from the TransNet fund, the county’s 1-cent sales tax surchage. Combined, the funding is only abour $400,000 short of the $3.1 million estimate.

• • • • •

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Send your news tips or press releases to: thepaper@cox.net. Questions? Call 760.747.7119. And thanks!

 

 

 

 


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